Category: Ecology

A Small Advantage

May 30, 2022 By arne hendriks Off

According to research of the University of Southampton the body mass of mammals will shrink by 25% over the next century, as creatures large and small will seek to adapt to environmental changes brought on by extensive habitat loss and other stressors as a result…

Small Amazonians

November 27, 2021 By arne hendriks Off

Birds are sensitive indicators of environmental change. A recent study of understory birds of the Amazon rainforest over a timespan of 40 years and 77 species shows again that most birds are adapting to the current drastic environmental changes by becoming smaller. By zooming in…

Short-Tongued Bombus

April 10, 2021 By arne hendriks Off

A study in Science shows that in a period of just 40 years two alpine bumblebee species (Bombus balteatus and Bombus sylvicola) rapidly evolved significantly shorter tongues. Short-tongued species are more generalist foragers, able to feed on many different types of flowers. They are replacing more specialised, long-tongued…

No Small Fish

February 10, 2021 By arne hendriks Off

One of many food-related ecological challenges is the overconsumption of fish. Worldwide, especially in the global south, fish is still a key component of a nutritious and healthy diet. Until we find and are able to produce widely available and sustainable alternatives (which we must)…

Royal (Feynmann) Antelope

May 16, 2016 By arne hendriks 0

The royal antelope is the smallest member of the deer family. It stands only 25cm tall and weighs a mere 3kg. It is closer in size to a pet rabbit than to other antelopes. Its evolution may have been the result of dietary strategy. Antelopes…

Red Knot Protein Transition

May 13, 2016 By arne hendriks 0

Reductions in body size in various animals are increasingly being identified as a response to climate warming. As early as the mid 19th century biologists observed that animals in warmer condition often tended to be smaller. The principle was formulated as Bergmann’s Rule. It is…

Trade-Off Dialectics

March 7, 2016 By arne hendriks 0

A trade-off is a situation that involves exchanging one desirable quality or aspect of something in return for another quality or aspect. In an evolutionary sense it is often presumed that every advantageous alteration of a phenotype comes with a disadvantage since energy invested in one…

Small Chameleon’s Mighty Tongue

January 7, 2016 By arne hendriks 0

Chameleons employ a power amplification mechanism to ballistically project their tongue as far as two body lengths from their mouth to capture prey. To do so, the tongue is rapidly accelerated off the hyoid with the tongue subsequently traveling to the prey on its momentum…

Co-Ex Interface

September 27, 2014 By arne hendriks 0

When first confronted with the idea of a human species with an average height of 50cm, initially most people express their fear for cats and dogs and how our diminutive size might affect our relationship with them. The Incredible shrinking Man doesn’t deny that this…

Voluntary Simplicity

April 23, 2014 By arne hendriks 2

Voluntary simplicity is characterised by individuals being satisfied with what they need rather than what they want. Simple living movements testify to the mindset and behaviour needed for humanity to make drastic changes. Its many secular and religious manifestations function as a source of how to…

Degrowth

February 15, 2014 By arne hendriks 1

Degrowth is a political, economic, and social movement based on ecological economics. Degrowth thinkers and activists advocate for the downscaling of production and consumption arguing that overconsumption lies at the root of long term environmental issues and social inequalities. It is considered an essential economic strategy responding to the…

The Namazu

January 1, 2014 By arne hendriks 0

In 19th century Japan earthquakes were often represented by and even attributed to an enormously oversized catfish, the namazu. According to popular folklore under normal circumstances this large fish was kept under control by a deity. If the god however, was not managing his worldly affairs,…

Turtle Tears

December 16, 2013 By arne hendriks 0

Size strongly influences our ability to recognise and benefit from specific small scale possibilities that would be available if man was a lot smaller. The act of shrinking promotes the Feynmanian awareness that our large size keeps us from a much richer experience of reality, as well…

Ituri Zebras (Mbuti)

May 12, 2013 By arne hendriks 0

At an adult height of only 135-140 centimeters the Mbuti of Congo are about 25 to 30% shorter than an average person and among the shortest people alive today. Their average weight of only 40 kg constitutes a significantly more intelligent and efficient body design, needing…

Fish Representatives

February 16, 2013 By arne hendriks 1

In most genetics research, Homo sapiens is represented by small fish like Danio rerio (zebrafish)  and Oryzias latipes (Japanese rice fish). Both are important model organisms, representing man in developmental genetics, neurophysiology and biomedicine. When we tinker with genes what happens to the fish is…

One Bean Coffee

December 30, 2012 By arne hendriks 0

According to the Water Footprint Network the fresh water involved in the production of a single cup of coffee (125ml) is 140 liters. One part of coffee consumes 1100 water parts. To make an average cup of coffee requires around 40 coffeebeans. To produce one…

Toad Leather

December 5, 2012 By arne hendriks 0

If we decide to shrink to 50 cm, cane toad leather could replace the less flexible, thicker leathers we use now. It is both beautiful and very soft, perfect for Shrinking Man’s shoes, bags or any other leather products. Other suitable leathers are snake-, eel-,…

Deflating the Food Bubble

October 15, 2012 By arne hendriks 1

The era of world food security is coming to an end simply because we can’t sustain the way food is produced. Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Research Centre in Washington, says the demands for food are growing so fast that unless we deflate the…

Counterfactual History

September 22, 2012 By arne hendriks 0

If we consider contemporary human size as just one possible outcome of different evolutionary possibilities then perhaps it becomes easier to envision a different, short-sized, future. What if human evolution had developed differently? Counterfactual history tries to answer what-if questions. It explores history by means…

Abundance Fantasies: Corn Cult

July 27, 2012 By arne hendriks 1

Mexican protesters against the high tortilla prices in 2007 rallied around an oversized corn. Their public display of the desire for an abundant food supply ressembles cargo cults in which the visualisation of desired abundance, or the context in which the abundance is believed to exist, is…